Thanks to the rise of the Internet, remote education has gained traction over the past few years, especially among distant learners. It’s not hard to see why it has become such a popular option—lessons are accessible from wherever you are, as long as you’re connected to the Internet. This not only provides extra room for flexibility but also eliminates the need for a commute, which in return, saves a lot of hassle.
Many quarters stand by the effectiveness of online learning, too. Citing the Research Institute of America, this article said that e-learning increases retention rates by 25% to 60%, while the retention rates of face-to-face training are only between 8% to 10%. This is attributed to students having control of their schedules and the ability to revisit the lessons when needed.
Now, as the world grapples with the pandemic, online learning is seen almost like a panacea, ensuring that education does not come to a halt in these turbulent times. Many theorize that the education landscape might be changed forever and remote learning is here to stay.
In spite of all the good things we heard, skeptics may ask, “Can remote learning ever match an in-person experience?” According to General Assembly, the answer is yes.
Over the past seven years, the school strives to provide top-notch education to tech aspirants and has since helped over 12,000 graduates launch new careers. To date, it has expanded into one of the biggest names in the bootcamp scene, with 35 in-person campuses across the globe, as well as an online campus.
A pioneer in education and career transformation, General Assembly has embraced online learning since 2016, making it possible for students to access its courses—three full-time and 11 part-time—no matter where they are. Check out the full list of remote courses available here.
In its efforts to accommodate more remote learners, General Assembly has recently revamped its entire online offerings to emulate the in-person experience as closely as possible. According to the school, this means making sure that students will get the most out of their time at General Assembly, without having to attend a physical, brick-and-mortar classroom.
“For many, remote learning is unfamiliar and even possibly, an overwhelming idea. We have worked hard to replicate the most crucial elements of in-person learning in an online format.
“Every cohort is going to have more support because we know there is a gap that comes with this. But we are providing more office hours, more instructors, and more opportunities for students to connect, so they can get the most at General Assembly,” the school said.
Learning Made Easy
Opting for an online course means that you will not be bound to a physical classroom, which provides the freedom to proactively work at your own pace. Depending on the course that you sign up for, you have control of the time you dedicate to your education.
Additionally, this is your chance to study in your dream classroom; be it a co-working space, your go-to local coffee shop, or even your favorite nook at home. With General Assembly’s remote learning module, the education you need is available at just a click of a button.
Collaborative and Educational Space
Engagement is the key to making a lesson work. To accurately replicate an in-person experience, the school utilizes two popular communication tools—Zoom and Slack—to connect instructors and students from across the world.
While the former is used mainly as a platform for teaching, the latter helps students stay in contact with their classmates before, during, and after the sessions. Slack’s ability to integrate third-party apps really come in handy for when students need to include things like notes, files, links, and even GIFs in their conversations. Get a glimpse into the virtual classrooms here.
“I felt Zoom and Slack were great for interacting with teachers and classmates. Although the class was 100% remote, I felt more engaged and involved than any other remote experience,” said Mason Griffin, a Software Engineering Immersive Remote Grad.
The school also gives students a taste of the modern workforce through the introduction of virtual breakout rooms. It is a small, interactive session where students can divide into groups to discuss and collaborate about all things related to the course.
The common misconception about online learning is that it typically is not as comprehensive as face-to-face learning, and that is far from the truth. At General Assembly, for instance, every student enrolled in any of its full-time courses is eligible for the career services benefit. Meanwhile, other students have access to the one-on-ones and office hours.
Through the select communication tools, students have the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with a career coach and learn more about the next steps to take to break into tech. General Assembly’s career coaches will act as your accountability partner, helping you set goals and guide you throughout the process with workshops, mock interviews, and training, among others.
Bootcamps, as the name suggests, are a fast-tracked alternative to traditional education which means that oftentimes, students are required to put in a lot of work to master the skills being taught. With this in mind, General Assembly encourages students to take a breather and talk to each other in an informal setting during the scheduled breaks. Not only can this be a chance to catch up with ongoing lessons, but it can also help peers foster better ties with one another.
What Students Love About General Assembly’s Online Classroom
NYC-based fine artist Samantha Gosling was in Week 8 of the User Experience Design Immersive when the city went into lockdown, forcing the final three weeks of her class to be moved online.
While she initially had mixed feelings about the adjustments, she said the online Zoom calls turned out to be something she looked forward to during a time of uncertainty.
“GA really leaped into action to ensure that we were provided the best possible experience for the remainder of our course. What stood out to me the most was the instructors and career coaches’ unwavering commitment to all of us.
“I was ambivalent at first about our lectures and class check-ins turning into Zoom calls, however, it ended up being an amazing experience that carried me through a difficult time. The lectures throughout the day were incredibly well done and didn’t feel any different than they did in person.”
Ms. Gosling added that the virtual classrooms not only helped her acquire the technical skills she desired but also taught her how to better navigate a remote working experience—a trend that many speculate would remain popular in a post-pandemic world.
“The online experience at General Assembly is just as good as it is in person, if not better, because of these important skills you will learn navigating a career from home. The support that is offered by the school and the community that it creates is unbeatable, it is the perfect time to connect with other people and help each other grow.
“I was so impressed with how well put together our lectures were and how our teachers were able to create a fun and engaging online experience. While working remotely at GA, I always felt like I had the class with me, we were always connected on Slack, always sending each other check-ins. I knew that if I ever needed anything, I had a group of people there to support me,” she said.
Former growth hacker from Sydney, Australia, Danny Lai was motivated to enroll in General Assembly’s Software Engineering Immersive program because he craved a form of structure that was lacking during a period of self-learning. He also signed up thinking that he would get the face-to-face support that would be available on campus.
Naturally, when the lesson delivery was shifted to the virtual space, he was a little nervous. However, it didn’t take long before he realized that the only difference was that he no longer needed to leave his house just to attend a class.
“I must admit, when GA announced that the course would shift to full-time remote delivery, I was a little nervous. Whatever concerns I had quickly dissipated, as the amount of support that was made available to me by GA was immense.
“With the right use of workspace tools such as Zoom and Slack, the overall learning experience is enhanced in some ways when delivered virtually, given the constant connectivity and availability of near-instantaneous support. Plus, being able to attend class in your pajamas is also fantastic,” he said.
Mr. Lai added that General Assembly has opened up his eyes to the numerous exciting opportunities that come with a career in the ever-evolving tech industry.
“My biggest takeaway was learning how to be fearless when confronted with difficulty in learning new concepts. There were several moments during the course when I felt particularly confronted by the complexity of the subjects we were learning.
“Rather than feeling constantly overwhelmed, I learned how to harness these frustrations and use them as foundations of my desire to learn. I came to realize that the world of software engineering is impossibly immense and that I should ideally be viewing new concepts as an opportunity to expand my knowledge. This has made me very excited for what’s to come!”
Coming from a non-technical background, Australian Patrick Broderick knew he needed to pick a bootcamp wisely. After doing his research, he decided on General Assembly upon learning about its Outcomes program; one that focuses on job-seeking methods and guidance on best practices for landing a tech job.
“The initial decision to pursue an intensive course over a traditional certificate or diploma was a big one…I knew when I saw GA’s focus on developing technical and non-technical skills that increase employability that I had found the course for me,” he said.
“The weekly career coaching in the form of the Outcomes program allowed the cohort to maintain focus on the end goal which is to apply our new Data Science skill set in the workplace. The program encourages constant outreach and connection with those in the Data Science community so my course material was supplemented by learning from real-world practitioners,” he said.
Mr. Broderick applauded the school for coming up with a remote learning program that does not forego certain aspects that would otherwise are only available with in-person programs.
“The online delivery of the class was very smooth and in most cases, preferable to in-person classes. A course of this nature takes most of your free time so any extra hours not spent on commuting, for example, were valuable.
“The freeform approach to labs allowed the cohort to shape the direction and style of the lesson that is adaptable to many different learning styles and personalities. In the breakout sessions, we were able to drill down further and learn from each other’s perspectives and expertise.”
Join General Assembly’s Virtual Classrooms Today
General Assembly’s remote learning adopts the same proven approach that has led to rave General Assembly reviews over the past seven years; the same curriculum, expert instruction, student support, and career services that the school is known for.
What are you waiting for? Join over 10,000 remote learners at General Assembly and brush up on your technical skills from the comfort of your own home today. All you have to do is head on over to the school’s website and click on Get Started.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.